It’s no secret that the standards of heavy music have been rising for the last decade or so. With the surge in DIY metal, it’s harder and harder for a band to stand out. Thankfully, there are always exceptions, and Facedown Records’ newest signing, Deathbreaker, has set themselves apart with their debut release, Disconnect. The album (and signing) sets the foundation for Facedown’s newest force in post-hardcore. Between the rhythmic drive, loud walls of sound, and a nuanced take on the signature Facedown voice, Deathbreaker presents a solid record that no doubt secures their standing alongside labelmates Rival Choir and My Epic.
Disconnect is a thick canvas, adorned with color, texture, and intense narrative. Each instrument has found its place, making the listening experience easy and enjoyable. Even the smallest hint of sonic character is highlighted by a calculated coordination between the guitars, bass, and drums. Astoundingly, there is no fighting among the instruments, and, yet, the sound is still powerful. The album ebbs and flows from hard-hitting tracks to captivating instrumentals, the intensity growing from the beginning questions in “In Error” to the final plea in “Absence.” Deathbreaker leaves a lot up to the audience with no blatant resolution, either lyrically or musically, underscoring the complexities of living in the tension between faith and the world.
The album opens up with an aggressive call-and-response: “Were we made to be this broken? Were we made to feel this hopeless?” Answering, “We are the product of infection. We need hope more than attention.” “In Error” braces the listener for the journey ahead, tearing down all boundaries and setting flame to any limits surrounding the realities of a postmodern world. The close intervals within the chords and riffs help retain the tension, a tension which masterfully breaks exactly where you want it to with catchy melodies and loose grooves. “Earthbound” and “Insight” ramp up the energy even more with expressive guitars and breakdowns that will assuredly get you in the pit. As the album’s story unfolds, Deathbreaker weaves in instrumental tracks like “Father” and “Son,” powerfully breaking up the musical anxiety with the relief of salvation and the beauty of divine victory.
The album hits the peak of chaos in “Blink” where the band experiments with timing and vocal effects, showcasing their ability to release control and reign it back in. The second single from the album, “The Sinking,” follows the insanity of “Blink.” With a solitary open chord intro, the guitars relinquish the wheel to let the bass drive the melodic movement. As the album rounds the corner of madness, it hits a wave of emotion in “Eclipse” that lays heavily into the wall of guitars and tasty high riffs. By the last track, the listener is face to face with God: “My child, I’m closer than you even know. I see your struggle and I know your pain because I feel it too. I’m not an absent father and my thoughts of you outnumber the stars. Please know that I am with you. You are my son. And you are loved.” The power of Disconnect carries through the very last trace of ringing overtones in “Absence.”
For a debut album, Deathbreaker certainly hits the mark with Disconnect. While the content is similar to several others in the genre, this album has a unique voice, a fingerprint to distinguish the four-piece in the crowd of screaming believers. The story is told with nuanced perspective that could be the very spark that bursts into flame for Deathbreaker. With hope in the embers, all that’s left is to fan the flame.